Convocation is a rather new band from Finland made by the duo LL (Desolate Shrine) and MN (Dark Buddha Rising) who released their debut Scars Across a couple of years ago. While I thought Scars Across was a solid affair it wasn’t an album I came to revisit. Enter their follow-up release Ashes Coalesce and I’m spellbound.
“Mayrtyrise” starts the album in a grand fashion, with more solid funeral doom that Convocation showed us they’re capable of doing before. Then it comes, the close to perfect funeral doom song, “The Absence of Grief”. I haven’t heard such a well crafted piece of work in a long time and the close to 14 minutes playtime almost goes away too fast. It isn’t an easy feat to have a listener intrigued and focused for such a long song but here Convocation pulls all their stuff. Perfect small tempo changes, eerie beautiful melodies reeling you into the darkness Convocation presents. Just stunning and hauntingly wonderful. “Misery Form” comes on and while I’m still in awe after the last song I can’t help but feeling even more sucked into this vortex of despair. It just never stops.
With a nice outro in the instrumental “Portal Closed” the album is over, it was a beautiful display of funeral doom with a hint of melancholic Finnish death metal that left at least me hooked and invested all the way through. Ashes Coalesce is a much stronger release than Scars Across was in every single way, yet Scars Across was already a good album. With “The Absence of Grief” alone they’ve presented themselves as one of my favorite bands of the genre by now and almost single-handedly pushes the score up even more. Convocation will be on everyone’s lips when people talk about great funeral doom bands, and they’re just getting started. Has to be noted that LL also did a great job on the artwork, big plus for collectors as I’ve of course pre-ordered this album!
Artist: Convocation Label: Everlasting Spew Records Release date: July 3rd, 2020 Favorite track: The Absence of Grief For fans of: Esoteric & diSEMBOWELMENT Score: 4/5 Excellent
Serocs was a band that many got to know in 2018 with their fourth full-length album The Phobos/Deimos Suite. The album crushed all competition in the genre and I myself had it high up on my yearly list and got the “brutal death metal album of the year” award. With that being said I was obviously stoked for their upcoming EP Vore. The album consists of seven tracks, where the two last tracks “Nihilus” and “Anthropic” are from a 2011 demo (“Nihilus” was featured in a new version on The Phobos/Deimos Suite, while the new “Anthropic” is the opener for Vore). So for an EP this is actually pretty sweet, close to a full-length I would say seeing the running time is over 26 minutes. The line-up has stayed mostly the same, with the big difference being that Phil Tougas (Chthe’ilist, First Fragment and Funebrarum) is not a full member any more like he was on The Phobos, but instead has helped as a session member with sick guitar solos on track two and additional songwriting on track one and five so he has been apart of almost half the album.
It starts of just like I’d hoped on the opener “Anthropic”, with some fast and heavy music that got killer technical riffs which they set the bar really high for on their last full-length. Gotta love those bass solos too! Need more of that in metal overall in my opinion. Following it up “Building A Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands” comes on, the single I quickly fell in love with and made me pre-order the album. This is also were Phil Tougas comes in with wicked solos. This is Serocs at its peak and it’s one of the best songs that will be released this year. If you don’t just go ape-shit over that solo half-way into the song then I don’t know if you even like guitars! It’s close to a perfect track in this style. After a short breather with the instrumental tune “Shallow Vaults” it’s time for another previously released single in “The Temple of Knowledge”. The track is a bit slower paced than the first two were but still packs a punch that will sucker punch you if you’re not ready for it. “To Self Devour” has some nice hooks to it but that song doesn’t really connect with me at first. I feel they might have strayed away from their sound a bit too much on the start of that song until it, around 1/3 in, ramps up where I then feel at home again and it ends on a high note. Then we have the two demo tracks. I could have lived without them in all honesty but at the same time it’s actually really fun to hear how two instrumental songs can turn into something quite different on the end results. The blueprints they used did eventually turn into two killer songs after all.
As it usually is with a good EP it’s over way too fast. Vore is another great piece in the Serocs discography and while it didn’t blow me away like The Phobos/Deimos Suite did (which I consider being one of the best brutal death metal albums of the decade) it’s superb musicianship by a very hungry band. Vore has some real highs but it isn’t near the same overall level however it showcase different sides of Serocs that fans can appreciate. I do miss having Phil Tougas on guitar on the whole album that’s for sure, but Serocs is all about quality and do extremely well on their own anyway it has to be said. Serocs is a band everyone should know by now, if you don’t Vore is a great place to start your journey before jumping on their masterpiece The Phobos/Deimos Suite.
Artist: Serocs Label: Everlasting Spew Records Release date: June 26th, 2020 Favorite track: Building A Shrine Upon Vanishing Sands For fans of: Defeated Sanity & Unfathomable Ruination Score: 4/5 Excellent
A band that’s recently released their debut full-length album Solve et Coagula and received some well earned praise on it too is Exgenesis. I personally found the album being really good and one of the better albums I’ve heard in the genre for a long time. With that in mind I thought it was a good time to interview the founder Jari Lindholm about the band, how the release has gone and the future.
Exgenesis is a rather new name to me. Seeing you’ve just released your full-length debut album that’s probably the case to a few. Tell me about the band, who are Exgenesis? Who does what in the band?
Exgenesis began around the time I was working on the second Enshine album, I wanted to experiment with some lower tempos and building atmosphere with a minimal use of keyboards and made some demos to try it out, which I sent to my friend Alejandro in Colombia and he suggested he could add some vocals on them. This later resulted in the “Aphotic Veil” EP in 2015. Around this time Christian came to Stockholm a few times to record the drums for Volturyon and Cold Insight, and we also ended up doing some cover songs together, a couple which also included Christians´ brother Tobias. Eventually this led to Christian also joining Exgenesis and for example we wrote the track “Embers” during one of these cover sessions.
International bands aren’t too common so I got to ask how you guys got together and how the process goes when writing an album?
I think we’re all pretty used to it by now and have all done our share of international collaborations. I also have Enshine which is based in Sweden and France, and I’m working on an album right now with session musicians from Portugal and Argentina. Christian is working with Seeming Emptiness from Germany and Alejandro did vocals for Aeonian Sorrow which is based in Greece and Finland. The writing process is typically that I’ll have an arrangement on guitars that may or may not have drum ideas, I’ll send it to Christian so he can add his drum ideas and then we send it to Alejandro to write lyrics and arrange the vocal parts.
All three of you are active in other bands. Is Exgenesis the first priority or do the projects kind of just share the time so to say?
I work on my various projects in periods so the focus is just shifting back and forth more or less.
What inspires Exgenesis when writing music? Any specific places you visit, books, movies or other bands?
That’s a very good question. I don’t actually listen a whole lot to really slow funeral doom stuff, so for me the slower parts were all about challenging myself to a game of “how slow can you go” and still keep it interesting. I think Shape of Despair did a really good job at that, for example. On the other hand we throw in some faster stuff too. Esoteric is a pretty good example of a band that manages to balance very slow stuff with higher tempos and building a thick and dark atmosphere. We also have some black metal influence but I couldn’t really name any particular bands there, it’s just something in the back of my head. And yeah, non-musical things like something that happens in every day life, or a mood can trigger the creation of a song.
You recently released the album Solve et Coagula. What’s the meaning behind the album title?
It is a term used in Alchemy, to dissolve and coagulate, to destroy something to create something new.
How has the reception been for the album? Has Corvid-19 affected it do you think, or has it gone as well as you’d hope?
It seems that everything is just slower than usual right now. The world has gone into hibernation. But with all that considered, yeah I think it has been going pretty well!
Solve et Coagula was released via Rain Without End Records. How did you two get in touch with each other?
I was already signed to this label with my other band, Enshine. And as I was pretty happy with how that worked out it was natural to continue this with Exgenesis too. I actually got in contact with them via a friend in Colombia who was working together with various labels, and this was not really related to Alejandro being from there. He also put me in touch with Weary Bird in China, where another band of mine, Seas of Years did a few releases.
Is there any particular song on the album you’re extra proud with and would show to anyone who asks what Exgenesis sounds like?
I think “Embers” is a pretty good song to start with, it has a pretty good balance of faster and doomy parts. On the other hand, it is maybe not the most “typical” for our sound. As there is a kind of duality throughout the album it’s pretty hard to showcase it with a single one.
As far as I can tell you haven’t played live yet, is that something that will happen now with the new album being out?
At the moment it’s not possible. Partially because of current travel restrictions and us being in different continents and it’s also very difficult to make it work economically.
What’s next for Exgenesis?
I guess unless the conditions for playing live change, we’ll just wait for the next round of inspiration to strike!
With that I say thank you for the time and great job on the full-length debut! Looking forward to hear more Exgenesis in the future.
Let me get started with saying I was not a big fan of of Visions of Disfigurement going into this review. I personally didn’t enjoy my time with Abhorrent Extinction and it wasn’t until I heard a single from Aeons of Misery I thought “what is this the same band? They sound a lot better now!”. I’m sure the fans of the band who liked their first material might think the other way around but their change into a much, much better mix between brutal and slam (leaning more towards brutal death in this case) with great production and overall just better performances by all the members spoke to me more than before.
End result is an absolute killer of an album. Visions of Disfigurement will slay you with Aeons of Misery. One of the heaviest, most compact albums I’ve heard in a long time and this is definitely the road the band should walk and hone their craft. From start to finish the album just keeps on bashing your skull with sick vocals and heavy riffs. There is no denying fans of the extreme will get their fill here and extra gains for the gym sessions. Was actually a really long time since I gave an album within the brutal/slam school higher than a 4 in score but Aeons of Misery deserves it. They don’t reinvent the wheel or do anything ground breaking for the genre, but they do reinvent themselves and it knocked me out cold. It’s just filthy, sick heavy music done to crater the fans of this style, nothing more, nothing less. Also has to be said the cover art is wonderful, that Balrog kind of looking demon fighting a Lovecraft like creature is a most fitting cover that adds the cherry on the top (great work by Pedro Sena). This will be a hard album to beat in its genre this year so don’t miss out on it!
Oh May God did this month deliver on all fronts. Be it death or black metal with their different sub genres May had you covered. Or what about new releases from the mighty Vader, Forgotten Tomb, Winterfylleth, Devangelic or one of my personal favorite bands of all time Naglfar? That’s just part of the months releases too as it had a bunch of surprises to boot with Burial and Cosmovore coming from no where knocking me out! If that doesn’t make you happy I’m not sure you will honestly. Anyways get following The Metal Gamer monthly playlist to get a quick listen on all these awesome bands then just dig into the full albums if you like what you hear. Easy yeah? So lets go!
Album of the month
I stumbled upon this band only due to getting the latest promo from Foetal Juice and saw a member was also in this band. Decided to check them out as Burial had a new album out and actually been active since 2005. Glad I did because Satanic Upheaval knocked me out completely! No nonsense, just satanic metal with wicked riffs to boot. The song “Decayed by Time” might just become my most played song of the year as I can’t stop listening to it.
Are you surprised to see one of my absolute favorite bands of all time being in the album of the month section? I’m sure you’re not but I for one am glad Naglfar still has it in them even after such a long time between the albums. Cerecloth will be one of my favorite albums of the year and a wicked comeback for one of the kings of melodic black metal.
Denmark knows a thing or two about creating superb underground black metal. Afsky is definitely on the forefront for the Danish black metal force together with bands like Solbrud and Orm. This is the bands best work to date and an album you simply can’t miss.
This release caught me completely by surprise. Randomly found it, thought the album cover looked pure awesome and instantly got sucked into the music from the very first notes. Been on constant rotation since. A fine debut!
Cosmovore – Into the Necrosphere was released May 24th as an independent release.
I’ve been waiting for this album since their very strong 2019 debut and it didn’t disappoint. Cosmic Putrefaction is death metal gold!
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn Vader – Solitude in Madness Thrawsunblat – Insula Sojourner – Premonitions ..and Oceans – Cosmic World Mother Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement Green Carnation – Leaves of Yesteryear KŁY – Wyrzyny Omniarch – Omniarch Esophagus – Defeated By Their Inferiority Paradise Lost – Obsidian Deathing – All Hail the Decay Killitorous – The Afterparty Armagedda – Svindeldjup Ättestup Henry Kane – Age of the Idiot Féleth – Depravity Pile of Priests – Pile of Priests Noctu – Gelidae Mortis Imago Devangelic – Ersetu Ara – Jurisprudence Sinister – Deformation of the Holy Realm Revenge – Strike.Smother.Dehumanize Centinex – Death in Pieces Protosequence – A Blunt Description of Something Obscene Brendanfraserectomy – Brendan’s Brutally Brutal bRevenge Bašmu – The Encircling Cauldron Black Ram – Slave Exgenesis – Solve et Coagula Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus Iku-Turso – Pakana Bloodred – The Raven’s Shadow Ruadh – The Rock of the Clyde Acârash – Descend to Purity Árstíðir Lífsins – Saga á tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll né firðir Father – Inferno Wastewalker – Lowborn Sielunvihollinen – Veren Äänet Kryptamok – Verisaarna Shadow in the Darkness – Erstwhile Befell Nygmalion – Deluminate Atavistia – The Winter Way Bitterness – Dead World Order Rannoch – Reflections upon Darkness Hatchets For Hands – Cabaret of Decay
The Metal Gamer Songs of the Month Spotify playlist
Exgenesis is a rather new band, having formed in 2014 but it consists of some very talented musicians who all got a great resume to boot (more on that later). Personally I had high hopes for this release just due to the fact the members in the band has released some music I’ve really enjoyed. It would prove Exgenesis could deliver the goods and would do so very well at that.
From a person who don’t listen all that often to this genre I found Solve et Coagula being an excellent album. From start to finish it kept me wanting more of those deadly vocals from Alejandro Lotero (Antithesis and ex-Aeonian Sorrow) accompanied with his two brothers in arms Christian Netzell (Volturyon and ex-In Mourning) and Jari Lindholm (Enshine and ex-Slumber). The addition of Netzell on drums has made Exgenesis sound so much better than they did on their EP Aphotic Veil too, great addition of a drummer who has a good resume from different genres already.
There is literally nothing holding this album back, it’s through and through a superb offering to its genre. Where I think October Tide didn’t deliver as I’d hoped on their last release Exgenesis came in instead and swept me away. A must listen for the fans of the genre and can be a great entry point, a guide, for those who hasn’t wandered the path before.
Artist: Exgenesis Label: Rain Without End Records Release date: May 15th, 2020 Favorite track: Where the Hope Ends For fans of: October Tide & Soliloquium Score: 4/5 Excellent
Ara is a new name to me but a quick google search made me realise the band has actually been going for eight years, having released an EP and a full-length album before Jurisprudence. The original members are all still there where three of four members have the sludge/post-rock band Northless in common. Quite a step away from that genre when they dabble with technical/progressive death metal. Interesting as it sounds I obviously had to give their past work a spin before going into their new offering.
Giving a listen to Devourer of Worlds I found it being a bit dull truth be told, a bit too progressive for my taste. Now enter Jurisprudence and all that is gone! While the album is still on the progressive spectrum of death metal this is more of a mix between the technical and progressive than the previous album, exactly what I was hoping for when going into this. Jurisprudence is even a bit on the brutal side, especially the vocals are gnarly as hell where Cryptopsy and Deeds of Flesh comes to mind and I didn’t hear any of that before. As I stated earlier Ara was a new band I’ve familiarized myself with but the time I’ve had with them shows that Jurisprudence is in my opinion their best work to date, by far. I love the mix between the brutal, technical and progressive sides of death metal which they execute with ease. Actually quite impressive seeing the band hails from the sludge and post-rock world, really a world a part from what’s being played here. Loving how they as musicians break their own boundaries like that, I’m sure they learn things along the way they can incorporate in their other projects in the future.
This is definitely an album I will come back to more than just this once even though it probably won’t win any non-believers of tech-death into the genre as it’s nothing you haven’t really heard before. It’s far from perfect but for fans of the genre who likes a big bag of mixed candy with everything brutal and technical this will be a sweet weekend treat to you. Also big plus on the beautiful artwork by Eliran Kantor who just seems to do no wrong and keeps delivers some of the best work in the business.
Artist: Ara Label: Independent Release date: May 15th, 2020 Favorite track: Cytokine Storm For fans of: Anata & Deeds of Flesh Score: 3.5/5 Very good
For those unfamiliar the band Grimentitiy is a new challenger that’s arrived from Belarus and with the short EP titled To Perfection (also called Promo 2020) have released their first physical album. The band is a trio which features a known name in Pavel Lapkouski on guitars and vocals, you might now him as the bass player in Relics of Humanity or from his past band Stickoxydal. Stickoxydal actually plays a similar style as Grimentitiy (where Pavel did guitars and vocals too) so it’s safe to say that’s something Pavel has built on when founding the band along with Roman Drobishevski (drums) and Nikita Metelskiy (vocals, bass).
Instantly the album begins with some intense instrumental works, soon followed by Pavel’s and Nikita’s vocals which are a great combo. Mixing the brutal death metal and grindcore feeling just perfectly where you can’t help but to think about Dying Fetus. “The Power of Broken” then comes on and what a track! While I thought the opener was a nice introduction where I got to know Grimentitiy they just blow me away with the next one, literally skipping a few bases going straight to the finish line. Ending To Perfection they did a Lock Up cover on the song “Dead Sea Scroll Deception”. Truth be told I think this is better than the original version, it has more power to it and I simply just love the vocals of Grimentitiy.
There isn’t really anything to complain about on To Perfection, only that it’s too short! Less than nine minutes long it still managed to get my blood pumping and I can’t wait to here more from Grimentitiy. They do grindcore just the way I want to to be, with a touch of brutal death in the mix. It’s well executed, done by a trio that knows their shit, well mixed and pays homage to some of the best death/grindcore music you’ve heard. Done by fans of the genre and I’m sure will be loved by fans of the genre!
Artist: Grimentitiy Label: Independent Release date: February 10th, 2020 Favorite track: The Power of Broken For fans of: Dying Fetus and Lock Up Score: 4/5 Excellent
With 1/3 of 2020 having come to an end the year has shown a lot of promise. April have had new strong albums from heavy hitters like Ulcerate, Benighted, Testament, Unmerciful, The Black Dahlia Murder and Abysmal Dawn to name a few. That alone has probably got a lot of metalheads having an empty wallet but then you can add newcomers such as Skam, Symbolik, Nyrst and Akurion to the mix which will make you have to take a loan! Meaning April was a great month for metal and you should just go straight to the monthly playlist to start listening to all these awesome albums.
Album of the month
What can I say, Ulcerate lives up to the hype! One of the best death metal bands in the world who seem to do no wrong and keeps on pushing the boundaries.
The French masters of mixing brutal death metal with grindcore Benighted are back with yet another superb album. While I think Necrobreed was a better album (I honestly think it’s their best release ever) Obscene Repressed still showcase a band on form who got their own style that I love.
After six years Abysmal Dawn returns with what I think is their best album to date. Which says a lot since they have released some killer material in the past too. A new lineup with some new ideas seems to have done the trick and this is one of the best technical death metal albums you’ll hear all year.
The American titans of brutal death metal Unmerciful really goes full-throttle at all times, showing you they fit their band name well. Wrath Encompassed is even more technical and refined than their older work as the band has matured even more. Great stuff! You can read the review here.
Oh Malist what a band! The debut came from nowhere and just sucker punched me with how good it was. To Mantle the Rising Sun is even better! If you haven’t heard of Malist before now is the time, don’t miss this. One of the best black metal albums of the year.
Aborted – La Grande Mascarade (best EP!) Skam – The Sound of Disease Symbolik – Emergence The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous Trivium – What the Dead Men Say Live Burial – Unending Futility Helfró – Helfró Barishi – Old Smoke Book of the Dead – Bound in Flesh, Inked in Blood Forndom – Faþir Testament – Titans of Creation Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow Venemous Skeleton – Drowning In Circles Two Face Sinner – Spiritual Nemesis The Projectionist – The Stench of Amalthia Reptilium – Adrenochromacy Khôra – Timaeus Aspidium – Harmagedon Vanir – 10 Years of Mead and Metal Monolith – The Lord Conspirator Shards of Humanity – Cold Logic Cemetery Filth – Dominion Myth of I – Myth of I Abrupt Demise – The Pleasure to Kill and Grind Akurion – Come Forth to Me Wayward Dawn – Haven of Lies Divine Chaos – The Way to Oblivion Babylonfall – Collapse Nyrst – Orsök Xpus – In Umbra Mortis Sedent Mental Disaster – The Repulsive Abomination Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi Endless Forms Most Gruesome – Endless Forms Most Gruesome Illvilja – In Winters Cold Eternal Armageddon – In Light In Dark In Hate
The Metal Gamer songs of the month Spotify playlist
Formed 2008 in Chile the band Esophagus has had some turbulent years. At the start they were a very active group, releasing two demo’s and two EP’s in four years. After that the band was quiet for a few years, trying out different members and it wasn’t until late last year we got new material in form of a split with Supreme Banishment that had two Esophagus songs in it. One of those two songs “To Reveal the Lifeblood of the New Race” has followed from the split to their debut full-length titled Defeated By Their Inferiority. Before I start the review it has to be said Realityfade Records and their founder Dimitri Sagaidak has done a superb job with the limited edition box of this album! Inspired with how the gaming (and movie) world does it with all the goodies that comes with a limited edition box it features a cool trading card and Predator inspired poster just to name a few things. That’s the way I want my limited edition boxes and I’ve personally ordered one (plus the Visions of Disfigurement box)! Only thing I really miss is a patch because I collect them. I’ve never seen a box like this before so thought it was a fun note but anyways back to the music!
What hits me first is the devastating vocals from the duo Fabian Muñoz and Hugo Ojeda. They complete each other so well and the sounds the two combines slays like a Predator on steroids. When “Pulverized by Misanthropic Behavior” comes on the filthy breakdown and tempo changes has now won me over, Esophagus sure knows how to mix brutal death metal with slam in a great way. On “Emperor Flesh Crown Supremacy”, “Offering to the Elder Gods” and “Beating Her to Deformity (Heinous Killings)” is where the really juicy slams drops though and those three tracks alone makes Defeated By Their Inferiority well worth your time. What an ending! The only thing I can actually complain about from this album is that I would of hoped the first part of if had blasted me away into oblivion just as much. There is no denying though that Esophagus has dropped a very good debut album with the last segment of it being totally killer stuff, much fitting a Predator on the hunt looking for blood. An interesting band to follow for the future to see if they can build on this!
Artist: Esophagus Label: Realityfade Records Release date: May 10th, 2020 Favorite track: Offering to the Elder Gods For fans of: Abominable Putridity & Disnormality Score: 3.5/5 Very good